St. Vincent men rally in second half to earn spot in PAC title game
St. Vincent men's basketball coach D.P. Harris wouldn't have to resign after all.
Harris, whose team lost to Bethany twice this season, said he would resign if he lost to a team three times in a row.
Fifth-seeded Bethany was leading until the 13-minute, 44-second mark of the second half before top-seeded St. Vincent went on a 15-0 run, erasing a five-point deficit, and rolling to a 74-65 victory in the Presidents' Athletic Conference semifinals.
St. Vincent (21-6) will play No. 2 Thomas More at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Carey Center. The Bearcats are seeking their fifth consecutive title. Thomas More defeated Thiel, 73-53, in the other semifinal.
Bethany (15-12) grabbed a 34-28 lead at halftime and extended its advantage to 39-32. But Harris continued to implore his team to drive to the basket, and that's what the Bearcats did, especially during the 15-0 run.
“I could feel the momentum turn with about 15 minutes left,” Harris said. “The game plan was to be physical and get to the basket. Once we established our inside game, it opened things up for Jason (Capco).”
Capco, a Belle Vernon grad, made consecutive 3-pointers to push St. Vincent's lead to 58-45. He finished with 14 points, 12 in the second half.
Senior forward Austin Ford finished with a career-high 21 points and had seven rebounds. He, too, had 12 points in the second half.
“I didn't know it was my career high until after the game,” Ford said. “Everyone came out and stuck to our game plan of playing physical, staying calm and keep attacking. Now we get a shot at playing for the title against Thomas More at home. We love the challenge of playing against them.”
Calique Jones, who finished with 19 points, 10 in the first half to help Bethany to a halftime lead. Freshman Chaice Truex, who torched St. Vincent for 25 points earlier, had 14 points, and Antonio Rudolph had 12.
Coy Patterson had 13 points and seven assists for St. Vincent, and Matt D'Amico added 12, eight in the second half.
“We knew we had to make it a physical game,” Harris said. “The players did a nice job attacking the hoop. This is a hard-working group who don't want to go home.”
St. Vincent shot 63 percent from the field in the second half after shooting only 34.4 in the first half. Bethany turned the ball over 18 times, including three consecutive times during the Bearcats' 15-0 run.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.